Hey Insiders! Thanks for stopping by the Well.
Today I’m going to talk about a breathing technique I was taught recently which has helped me to feel calm in stressful situations. It’s a style of breath that activates your parasympathetic nervous system, while slowing down your sympathetic nervous system.
Here’s a diagram explaining the different functions of each system, which will shed some light on why activating your parasympathetic nervous system is conducive to relaxation:
I use this breathing technique any time I’m feeling stressed out, or simply to deepen my feelings of relaxation during meditation. As someone who experiences a lot of anxiety, I am thankful to have found a strategy for stress reduction that was easy to learn and can be performed any time.
Here are the steps:
1. Inhale through your nose for four counts
2. Hold for one or two counts
3. Exhale for five counts through your mouth
The most important point with this technique is that you need to exhale a little longer than your inhale. This is the key to activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Using a count is helpful to ensure that you are in fact exhaling slightly longer than you are inhaling.
Here is my instructional drawing:
Have you ever used this breathing technique before? Is there a type of breathing you perform that helps calm you down? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Thanks for stopping by the well!